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Our top 5 highlights of 2021

Commentary
December 27, 2021By Staff

As 2021 comes to a close, we look back at the top highlights of the year — our publications and other content that generated the biggest buzz. We are grateful for the many supporters like you who make this work possible, and for our community partners working alongside us in advancing economic and racial justice in Oregon.

Leaving no worker behind

Our research, analysis and advocacy helped pave the way for ending an inequity in our tax code: the exclusion of certain immigrant working families from the benefits of Oregon’s Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). Earlier this year, the Oregon legislature extended the EITC to families that file taxes using an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, instead of a Social Security Number. This change means that a quarter-million Oregonians previously excluded from this tax credit — designed for families surviving on low wages — now qualify for the credit. We are grateful for the leadership of our partners Causa Oregon and Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste (PCUN), and the advocacy efforts of many other organizations, for the success of this campaign.

Increasing Oregonians’ knowledge of tax policy

This year we ramped up our popular education program. We held a dozen presentations of Oregon Tax Policy: Explained that helped hundreds of policymakers, advocates, and politically engaged Oregonians better understand Oregon’s tax system — the good, the bad, and what needs reform. Toward the end of the year, we debuted a new presentation, The Racist Roots of Oregon’s Tax System, examining how the tax system entrenches and even deepens racial inequality. Its popularity reflects the interest of Oregonians to learn more about how we can make the system work for all. Together, these two presentations lay the foundation for collective action to improve Oregon’s tax system.

Digging into the problem of poor quality jobs

In a major report published in September, we dove deep into the common problem of poor quality jobs. These are jobs that pay too little to adequately support a family and often come with few, if any, benefits. Poor quality jobs are a key reason why economic insecurity is widespread in Oregon. Our paper laid out some of the main policy responses to the problem of poor quality jobs.

Laying the groundwork for corporate tax transparency

The cloak of tax secrecy makes it easier for big, multinational corporations to avoid taxes; it’s now time to shine a light. Heading into the 2021 Oregon legislative session, we published a report explaining why corporate tax transparency is an essential step to fixing the widespread problem of corporate tax avoidance. Along with our coalition partners, we developed legislation requiring big corporations to make certain tax and financial information public. We made progress in 2021, and we remain committed to making corporate tax transparency a reality in Oregon.

Explaining the harm that deportation inflicts on Oregon’s economy and families

In the closing weeks of the year, we published a report examining how deportation harms Oregon’s economy, key industries, and rural counties; throws families into extreme economic hardship; and takes an emotional and financial toll on thousands of Oregon children. We look forward to working with our partners in the immigrant rights community and others in the upcoming 2022 legislative session to ameliorate these harms by enacting Universal Representation, a policy that would reduce frequent wrongful deportations by ensuring that immigrant Oregonians facing a deportation have legal representation.

The year 2021 was one of progress and possibilities, of successes and laying the foundations for future reforms. As we welcome 2022, we look forward to partnering with communities and individuals like you in advancing economic and racial justice in our state.